The Bill of Rights 1698

Yeah, we do actually have one!

Tony Atkinson
9 min readApr 7, 2023
King James II 1684 portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller Bt (image Public Domain)

In 1688, King James II and VII of England Scotland and Ireland was summarily ejected from his throne as his army melted away before a force of 20 000 led by his nephew and son-in-law William, Prince of Orange. James had been a troublesome monarch, with absolutist tendencies and a devotion to the Roman Catholic Curch which sat ill with the people of Protestant England. The proximate cause of this ‘Glorious Revolution’ was James’ attempt to charge seven Church of England Bishops with ‘seditious libel’ for refusing to read his Declaration of Indulgence to their congregations. The seven bishops were acquitted, and the subsequent anti-Catholic rioting showed that James had lost all authority and the trust of his people. A more important, but less ‘official’ reason was the birth of a legitimate heir to James in the person of James Francis Edward Stuart (later known as the ‘Old Pretender’) and the consequent fear among the nobility of a Catholic dynasty.

William was not only the Kings’ nephew, but was also the husband of the Kings’ eldest daughter, Mary. Until the birth of her half-brother, the Protestant Mary had been heir presumptive, so her accession as joint ruler with her husband made the whole thing legitimate.

However, Parliament was not about to leave the country open to more instability or conflict…

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Tony Atkinson

Snapper-up of unconsidered trifles, walker of paths less travelled by. Writer of fanfiction. Player of games. argonaut57@gmail.com